Daniel Sturridge was the match-winner for a second straight week as Liverpool won at Villa Park to make their best start to a season for five years.

The Liverpool striker finished off a flowing first-half move to score his eighth goal in seven league games.

Villa were outplayed early on but improved in the second half, with Liverpool goalkeeper Simon Mignolet twice denying Christian Benteke.

Both sides had late penalty appeals waved away by referee Mark Clattenburg.

Brendan Rodgers on 'exceptional' play

Liverpool last won their opening two matches of the season in 2008-9 and this victory means Brendan Rodgers's side extend their unbeaten run to 10 Premier League matches, a streak that began with a win at Villa Park in March.

The platform for victory was set during a first half in which the visitors were utterly dominant. Villa improved markedly after the break but the damage was done.

It has been a brutal start to the season for Paul Lambert's young side. During their magnificent victory at Arsenal and contentious defeat at Chelsea, they displayed tangible signs of progress but against Liverpool they looked flat and, perhaps, fatigued by those two demanding trips to London.

Kolo Toure did well to contain Benteke to just a handful of chances, while Gabriel Agbonlahor only threatened in fits and starts. But Villa's defensive problems remain - this was their 25th successive match without a clean sheet, a record they will look to put right in their next league match against Newcastle in three weeks' time.

Liverpool's promising start

  • This was the first time Liverpool have won their opening two league games in five years
  • The Reds are unbeaten in their last 10 league games
  • Daniel Sturridge has scored eight goals in his last seven Premier League appearances and two in two matches this season

Much of the credit must go to Liverpool, though, who once again displayed why there is a growing sense of optimism around Anfield.

The win over Stoke had been Liverpool's first on the opening day since they last mounted a credible title challenge five years ago. It was in that season they last won their opening two matches of a campaign, something they had only done twice in the previous 18 seasons.

There were more signs of encouragement at Villa Park.

Liverpool bossed the opening 45 minutes with a swagger and fluidity that, at times, Villa were unable to contain. Midfielders Steven Gerrard and Lucas Leiva were imperious and Philippe Coutinho was a constant threat as Liverpool's frontline swapped places at will.

His understanding with Sturridge borders on the telepathic. That had been obvious against Stoke and it was that link-up which created Liverpool's opening goal from a move that began with Jose Enrique wide on the left. Coutinho allowed the Spaniard's low cross to run across him and into the path of Sturridge. The former Chelsea striker took the ball around Antonio Luna, beyond the sprawling Brad Guzan and poked it high into the roof of the net with his left foot.

Paul Lambert pleased with progress

Starved of possession and with the home crowd beginning to grow restless, Villa might have wilted. But as the match wore on, they found a renewed sense of purpose.

Benteke carried their greatest threat and, having escaped the unstinting attentions of Toure, tested Mignolet with a curling shot that his fellow Belgian tipped around the post. Andreas Weimann's effort was then deflected just over the crossbar by Daniel Agger.

Villa began to break free of Liverpool's dominance in midfield and Agbonlahor began to flicker into life. The forward fired narrowly wide, while Benteke was denied a penalty as he collided with Toure following a corner. As with their opening-day win, Liverpool had failed to find a second goal and were now inviting pressure.

Benteke latched onto substitute Nicklas Helenius' header and drew another diving save from the excellent Mignolet. Liverpool might have won a late penalty as Guzan appeared to bring Sturridge down in the area but were happy enough to leave Villa Park with the points.

Lineup, Bookings (6) & Substitutions (5)

Aston Villa

  • 01 Guzan
  • 04 Vlaar
  • 05 Okore
  • 14 Luna Booked
  • 34 Lowton Booked (El Ahmadi - 65' )
  • 07 Bacuna
  • 15 Westwood (Helenius - 83' )
  • 16 Delph Booked
  • 10 Weimann (Tonev - 73' )
  • 11 Agbonlahor
  • 20 Benteke

Substitutes

  • 13 Steer
  • 06 Clark
  • 08 El Ahmadi
  • 17 Herd
  • 18 Sylla
  • 24 Tonev
  • 09 Helenius

Liverpool

  • 22 Mignolet
  • 02 Johnson Booked
  • 03 Jose Enrique
  • 04 Toure
  • 05 Agger
  • 08 Gerrard
  • 09 Aspas Booked (Cissokho - 69' )
  • 10 Coutinho (Allen - 83' )
  • 14 Henderson
  • 21 Lucas Booked
  • 15 Sturridge

Substitutes

  • 01 Jones
  • 20 Cissokho
  • 47 Wisdom
  • 06 Alberto
  • 24 Allen
  • 31 Sterling
  • 29 Borini
Ref: Clattenburg
Att: 42,098

Match Stats

Shots

17 5

On target

3 1

Corners

8 2

Fouls

9 8

Live Text Commentary

90:00 +3:22 Full time

Full Time The referee ends the match.

90:00 +3:14

Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.

90:00 +2:44

The offside flag is raised against Gabriel Agbonlahor.

90:00 +2:41

Kolo Toure manages to make a clearance.

90:00 +2:39

A cross is delivered by Leandro Bacuna.

90:00 +2:23

Kolo Toure makes a clearance.

90:00 +1:27

Aleksandar Tonev crosses the ball.

90:00 +1:17

Leiva Lucas makes a clearance.

90:00 +1:16

Clearance made by Kolo Toure.

90:00 +0:41

Sanchez Jose Enrique takes the free kick.

90:00 +0:22

Free kick awarded for a foul by Jores Okore on Daniel Sturridge.

89:49

Clearance by Jordan Henderson.

88:42

Direct strike on goal from the free kick by Aleksandar Tonev goes left of the target.

88:04

Leiva Lucas is cautioned.

88:04 Booking

Booking

88:00

Free kick awarded for a foul by Leiva Lucas on Gabriel Agbonlahor.

87:47

Leandro Bacuna manages to make a clearance.

87:35

Jores Okore makes a clearance.

86:40

Clearance by Leiva Lucas.

86:39

Aleksandar Tonev takes a shot. Leiva Lucas gets a block in.

86:13

Clearance made by Jores Okore.

86:04

Clearance by Kolo Toure.

86:02

Clearance by Glen Johnson.

85:56

Corner taken by Leandro Bacuna.

85:29

Christian Benteke takes a shot. Simon Mignolet parries the effort to safety.

85:24

Clearance made by Daniel Agger.

84:48

Leiva Lucas makes a clearance.

84:31

Clearance made by Jordan Henderson.

83:20

Free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.

82:57

Foul by Christian Benteke on Leiva Lucas, free kick awarded.

82:46 Substitution

Substitution Phillippe Coutinho goes off and Joe Allen comes on.

82:26 Substitution

Substitution Nicklas Helenius on for Ashley Westwood.

82:01

Clearance by Aly Cissokho.

81:22

Daniel Agger makes a clearance.

81:19

The ball is sent over by Antonio Luna.

80:50

Kolo Toure manages to make a clearance.

79:56

Clearance by Daniel Agger.

79:43

Simon Mignolet takes the free kick.

79:10

The offside flag is raised against Christian Benteke.

79:05

Glen Johnson manages to make a clearance.

79:00

Corner taken by Ashley Westwood from the right by-line.

78:27

Aleksandar Tonev takes a shot. Simon Mignolet catches the ball.

77:31

Clearance made by Antonio Luna.

77:23

Clearance by Daniel Sturridge.

77:21

The ball is swung over by Antonio Luna.

76:04

Clearance made by Jores Okore.

75:59

Karim El Ahmadi makes a clearance.

74:25

Gabriel Agbonlahor takes a shot and went wide of the left-hand upright.

74:22

Clearance by Kolo Toure.

73:17

Foul by Leiva Lucas on Fabian Delph, free kick awarded.

72:13 Substitution

Substitution (Aston Villa) makes a substitution, with Aleksandar Tonev coming on for Andreas Weimann.

71:05

Header by Andreas Weimann misses left.

71:02

A cross is delivered by Leandro Bacuna.

70:40

Aly Cissokho manages to make a clearance.

70:38

Leandro Bacuna makes a clearance.

69:52

Header at goal by Christian Benteke misses left of the target.

69:48

Corner from the left by-line taken by Ashley Westwood.

69:28

Clearance by Steven Gerrard.

69:26

The ball is swung over by Antonio Luna.

68:52

Daniel Agger makes a clearance.

68:04 Substitution

Substitution Aly Cissokho comes on in place of Iago Aspas.

67:22

Clearance by Ron Vlaar.

66:53

Jordan Henderson crosses the ball.

66:08

Karim El Ahmadi takes a shot. Blocked by Steven Gerrard.

66:05

Daniel Agger manages to make a clearance.

66:02

The ball is sent over by Fabian Delph.

65:25

The ball is swung over by Gabriel Agbonlahor.

64:54

Clearance by Kolo Toure.

64:38 Substitution

Substitution Karim El Ahmadi comes on in place of Matthew Lowton.

63:25

Clearance by Daniel Agger.

63:23

The ball is sent over by Andreas Weimann.

62:16

Clearance by Glen Johnson.

61:48

Shot by Glen Johnson went wide right of the net.

61:31

Free kick taken by Daniel Agger.

60:59 Booking

Booking

60:59

The referee cautions Matthew Lowton for unsporting behaviour.

60:54

Free kick awarded for a foul by Matthew Lowton on Phillippe Coutinho.

60:00

Corner taken by Ashley Westwood.

59:39

Leiva Lucas makes a clearance.

59:38

Andreas Weimann crosses the ball.

58:31

Shot by Ashley Westwood went harmlessly over the bar.

56:57

Daniel Agger makes a clearance.

56:39

Leandro Bacuna restarts play with the free kick.

56:17

Free kick awarded for a foul by Daniel Agger on Leandro Bacuna.

55:08

Shot by Ashley Westwood went wide of the right-hand post.

55:07

Leiva Lucas manages to make a clearance.

55:04

A cross is delivered by Matthew Lowton.

54:56

Direct strike on goal from the free kick comes in from Leandro Bacuna. Iago Aspas gets a block in.

53:54

Steven Gerrard challenges Gabriel Agbonlahor unfairly and gives away a free kick.

53:11

Bradley Guzan takes the free kick.

52:21

Unfair challenge on Bradley Guzan by Daniel Agger results in a free kick.

52:18

The ball is swung over by Steven Gerrard.

52:08

Fabian Delph manages to make a clearance.

52:04

Corner taken by Steven Gerrard.

51:38

Clearance made by Ron Vlaar.

50:45

Ron Vlaar makes a clearance.

50:21

Clearance made by Daniel Sturridge.

50:19

Clearance made by Jores Okore.

49:17

Free kick taken by Sanchez Jose Enrique.

49:16

Matthew Lowton challenges Phillippe Coutinho unfairly and gives away a free kick.

47:40

Bradley Guzan takes the free kick.

47:13

Iago Aspas is ruled offside.

47:06

Clearance by Christian Benteke.

46:13

Kolo Toure manages to make a clearance.

46:12

The ball is swung over by Andreas Weimann.

45:40

Jordan Henderson makes a clearance.

45:33

Glen Johnson takes the free kick.

45:11

Unfair challenge on Glen Johnson by Gabriel Agbonlahor results in a free kick.

45:01

The second half begins.

45:00 +2:01 Half time

Half Time The half-time whistle blows.

45:00 +1:41

Header by Ron Vlaar misses to the right of the target.

45:00 +1:37

Free kick crossed by Ashley Westwood.

45:00 +1:18

Glen Johnson goes into the book for unsporting behaviour.

45:00 +1:18 Booking

Booking

45:00 +1:15

Free kick awarded for a foul by Glen Johnson on Christian Benteke.

45:00 +0:53

Free kick taken by Bradley Guzan.

45:00 +0:22

Steven Gerrard is caught offside.

45:00 +0:18

Jores Okore makes a clearance.

45:00 +0:15

Corner from the right by-line taken by Steven Gerrard.

44:03

Jordan Henderson makes a clearance.

44:01

Leandro Bacuna takes a shot and missed to the left of the goal.

44:01

Clearance by Kolo Toure.

43:57

Corner from the left by-line taken by Ashley Westwood.

43:26

Shot by Andreas Weimann. Daniel Agger gets a block in.

43:26

Clearance by Daniel Agger.

43:23

Clearance made by Steven Gerrard.

42:30

Clearance made by Leiva Lucas.

41:30

Clearance made by Glen Johnson.

41:26

Corner taken by Ashley Westwood from the left by-line.

41:07

Simon Mignolet manages to make a clearance.

41:04

Corner from the right by-line taken by Ashley Westwood.

40:47

Christian Benteke has an effort at goal. Simon Mignolet parries the ball away.

40:36

Corner from the right by-line taken by Ashley Westwood.

39:34

Daniel Agger takes the free kick.

39:17

Fabian Delph is shown a yellow card.

39:17 Booking

Booking

38:52

Unfair challenge on Daniel Sturridge by Fabian Delph results in a free kick.

36:54

Clearance made by Sanchez Jose Enrique.

33:53

Antonio Luna crosses the ball.

33:03

Clearance made by Jordan Henderson.

31:37

Ron Vlaar manages to make a clearance.

31:04

Leandro Bacuna takes the chance to get an effort at goal and missed to the left of the goal.

30:33

Jordan Henderson delivers the ball.

30:30

Antonio Luna makes a clearance.

29:53

Clearance made by Kolo Toure.

29:17

Ron Vlaar restarts play with the free kick.

28:58

Iago Aspas is cautioned by the ref for unsporting behaviour.

28:58 Booking

Booking

28:54

Free kick awarded for an unfair challenge on Fabian Delph by Iago Aspas.

27:56

Gabriel Agbonlahor manages to make a clearance.

25:36

Fabian Delph makes a clearance.

24:25

Daniel Agger manages to make a clearance.

22:23

Steven Gerrard takes the free kick.

21:53

Antonio Luna receives a caution for unsporting behaviour.

21:53 Booking

Booking

21:45

Antonio Luna challenges Jordan Henderson unfairly and gives away a free kick.

20:13

The assist for the goal came from Sanchez Jose Enrique.

20:13 Goal scored

Goal! - Daniel Sturridge - A Villa 0 - 1 Liverpool Daniel Sturridge scores with a left foot finish. Aston Villa 0-1 Liverpool.

19:20

Clearance by Kolo Toure.

18:41

Daniel Agger makes a clearance.

18:14

Clearance made by Ron Vlaar.

17:38

Centre by Steven Gerrard.

17:29

Clearance made by Gabriel Agbonlahor.

16:48

Glen Johnson takes the free kick.

16:45

Andreas Weimann is adjudged to have handled the ball.

16:32

Fabian Delph makes a clearance.

15:48

Phillippe Coutinho takes a shot and missed to the right of the net.

14:55

Jores Okore makes a clearance.

13:48

Andreas Weimann crosses the ball.

12:49

Glen Johnson restarts play with the free kick.

12:34

Foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor on Glen Johnson, free kick awarded.

11:24

Clearance by Fabian Delph.

11:23

Jordan Henderson has a headed effort at goal. Blocked by Ron Vlaar.

11:21

The ball is crossed by Sanchez Jose Enrique.

11:18

Jores Okore makes a clearance.

10:24

Free kick taken by Simon Mignolet.

10:01

Free kick awarded for a foul by Gabriel Agbonlahor on Glen Johnson.

9:36

Free kick taken by Fabian Delph.

9:27

Leiva Lucas challenges Fabian Delph unfairly and gives away a free kick.

8:53

Antonio Luna makes a clearance.

8:23

Jores Okore manages to make a clearance.

7:34

Glen Johnson takes a shot. Gabriel Agbonlahor gets a block in.

5:51

Antonio Luna manages to make a clearance.

5:01

Clearance made by Jores Okore.

4:01

Gabriel Agbonlahor takes the chance to get an effort at goal. Steven Gerrard gets a block in.

2:29

Ron Vlaar makes a clearance.

2:29

Iago Aspas sends in a cross.

2:21

Leandro Bacuna makes a clearance.

2:04

Clearance made by Ron Vlaar.

1:40

Clearance by Fabian Delph.

0:00

The ref blows the whistle to begin the match.

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